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What Is the Difference Between Identity Access Management and Identity Governance?

Identity Access and Identity Governance are often used in cyber security business. From clients’ side the terms are often confusing and difficult to comprehend, but from experts’ side they both are the two aspects of IAM, but concepts of each of them are totally different. This article will explain in details about the differences between the IAM and IG.

For the better understanding, it could be said in a few words, that IAG refers to a process that allows organizations to monitor and ensure that identities and security rights are correct, as well as managed effectively and securely. It includes everything from business, technical, legal and regulatory issues for organizations. Identity and access management (IAM) is just a component of IAG. IAM is the technology for managing the user identities and their access privileges to different systems and platforms. But let’s now analyse each of the two technologies, so that it would be clear what functions and capabilities possess each of them.

  • Identity and Access Management

First: What Do We Mean By “Identity”?

In the cyber space, we all have identities. Our identities display themselves in the form of attributes, entries in the database. A unique attribute differentiates one online user from another one. For example – an attribute could be an email address, phone number, or a social security number. Attributes referring to our private and working life are different and change over the time, as we change jobs, place of living, get married, etc.

Your online identity is established when you register. During registration, some attributes are collected and stored in a database. And here we come to the term – Identity management, which literally means – managing the attributes. You, your supervisor, your company HR person, the IT admin, the eCommerce site service desk person could be responsible for creating, updating, or even deleting attributes related to you.

As mentioned above, Access Management is a process of managing users’ identities, tracks, and at the same time managing their access to certain systems and applications. The process of access management is related to users and customers, whose profiles have to be created, managed, controlled and granted the proper role and access. When it comes to performing access management and keeping sensitive data and information secure, giving the right access to the right people is imperative.

  • Identity Governance

Identity governance (IG) is a subcategory of Identity and Access Management (IAM). IG provides organizations with better visibility to identities and access privileges, and better controls to detect and prevent inappropriate access. IG solutions are designed to link people, applications, data and devices to allow customers to determine who has access to what, what kind of risk that represents, and take action in situations when any violations are identified.

Identity Governance in action:

If someone is trying to access the systems who is not authorized, the identity governance solution can determine the access as suspicious and notify about it to the system administrator. The identity governance systems also help in automating the process of cleaning user access right by analysing whether the users were granted the similar access in the past or not.

Identity Governance offers a holistic approach driven by risk analytics and focused on improving security and compliance. Identity Governance has several techniques to provide preventive or detective controls, reporting, and dashboards, data access governance, improved user experience and contribute towards limited threats to acceptable level.
Moreover, Identity Governance tools enable organizations to enforce, review and audit IAM policies, map governance functions to compliance requirements and support compliance reporting. Specific identity governance product features include user administration, privileged identity management, identity intelligence, role-based identity administration, and analytics.

In general these are the differences in the functioning of the two solutions, but both are used to protect sensitive information and data from getting access without permission and proper privileges. Thanks to IAM and IG, an organization’s data could be better secured from unauthorized access, malicious threats and cyber attacks.

The Role of Identity Governance in Security and Compliance

In the complex network of managing user rights, permissions and accounts, tracking who has access to certain resources becomes almost impossible. Every organisation is facing demands, mandates and compliance regulations while managing the access and support of many devices and systems that contain critical data. Identity Governance and Intelligence solutions help business with the ability to create and manage user accounts and access rights for individual users within the company. In this way they can more conveniently manage user provisioning, password management, access governance and identity repositories.

Why is Identity Governance Critical to Security?

Identity governance is the core of most organizations’ security and IT operations strategies. It allows businesses to provide automated access to an increasing number of technology assets and at the same to manage potential security and compliance risks. Identity governance enables and secures digital identities for all users, applications and data.

In case the identity governance is compromised, the organization is left vulnerable to security and compliance violations. Companies can solve this problem by investing in identity governance and intelligence (IGI) solutions that address the business requirements of compliance mangers, auditors and risk managers. According to our partner IBM, “IGI provides a business activity-based modelling approach that simplifies the user access and roles design, review and certification processes. With this approach, you can establish trust between IT and business managers around business activities and permissions, making workflows understandable for nontechnical users. IGI solutions enable security teams to leverage powerful analytics to make informed decisions about identity, give users the applications and the flexible data access they need, and help to ensure compliance with ever-evolving regulations.”

When we talk about managing access within the organization, a number of researches show that more than 50 percent of users have more access privileges than required for their job. In most cases the reason is bulk approvals for access requests, frequent changes in roles or departments, and not regular reviewing user access. The trouble is that too much access privilege and overprovisioning can open an organization up to insider threats and increase the risk throughout the business.

It’s necessary to make sure that users have the appropriate access and to prevent facing with insider threats. The risk could be decreased by using role-based access controls (RBAC) – this means having solid, well-defined roles in place and knowing specifically which access privileges each role needs. As organizations grow and evolve, the right IGI solution can allow for more efficient changes and decrease risk by focusing on role definitions and role assignments rather than on individual accounts. The strategy of RBAC works well to decrease the timeline in executing bulk additions where a lot of change is happening at once, like during mergers, acquisitions and corporate reorganizations.

Why is Identity Governance Critical to Compliance?

Companies today have to manage customer, vendor, and board member demands, but at the same time they also must make sure they are compliant with any number of regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and SOX. The increasing number of federal regulations and industry mandates that organizations face today, leads to more auditing, compliance reviews, and reporting.

Identity Governance is a critical discipline involved in this regulation. To be GDPR compliant, organizations must ensure that the personal data they process, collect, and store is properly protected. IBM Security Identity Governance & Intelligence (IGI) can help with that process. IGI allows only the right people to access and manage GDPR-relevant data. IGI presents these people to a business manager holistically in a single pane of glass. (source: IBM) IGI solutions not only strictly control the access to sensitive information like patient records or financial data, but also enable companies to prove they are taking actions to meet compliance requirements.

Furthermore, IGI solutions make the review process easier and more effective with built-in reporting capabilities to meet relevant government and industry regulations. A good compliance program allows for frequent and multiple access reviews to take place at any given time to meet ever-increasing auditor demands without engaging numerous resources from the organization.

One of the main reasons for implementing an IGI solution, is to ensure that users only have access to the resources they need. It also makes sure that you provide appropriate access, risk mitigation and improved security posture of your organization. Unfortunately, a lot of companies today may not view this as a strategic priority and that is a prerequisite to suffer a security incident at some moment. What such companies should do, is to trust IGI solutions and their strong capabilities. See here how PATECCO IGI Solutions are the foundation for a solid Identity and Access Management program in your organization.

Why Identity Governance and Administration is Fundamental to Information Security?

Cybersecurity is possible if only there is a full visibility and control of the users’ activities in the enterprise network. Within your organization, you should know who has access to what and how that access is being used. Now may be you are asking yourself: “Is my identity governance working intelligently enough?” If your answer is “Yes”, that means that your identity governance clearly monitors the complex activity of human and nonhuman actors throughout an organization and implements appropriate controls to ensure the right actors have access to the right data at the right time.

As Kuppingercole says in its reports, Identity Governance and Administration is one of the core disciplines of today’s IAM (Identity and Access Management). IGA factually is a combination of Identity Provisioning and Access Governance. IGA is one element of IAM and needs to work seamlessly with Adaptive Authentication, Privileged Access Management, and other technologies. By implementing IGI tools, you can improve visibility of how access is being utilized, prioritize compliance actions with risk-based insights, and make better decisions with clear actionable intelligence.

Governing Digital Identities

Almost half of data breaches happen within an organization—and the reason is a failure to govern the digital identities of employees and other users, such as contractors, partners and even software bots. Governing digital identities is as complex as it is critical to security. When roles change, access must be changed accordingly without any delay.

Nowadays leading organizations are governing the digital identities of their numerous employees. They all view identity governance as an enabler of their own transformation and larger trends such as the Internet of Things. The implementation of IGI system brings benefits such as improved security, compliance with privacy regulations and increased productivity. For large organizations the task to get users the access they require can be really time consumable. As employees and contractors work on a variety of projects, transfer departments and locations, change their job functions, and get promoted, their requirements for access constantly change. At a deeper level, system administrators require access to privileged, shared accounts that allow them to perform business-critical and administrative functions

For all of these scenarios, PATECCO provides identity governance solutions including privileged account management, which controls access to shared, root-level or admin accounts. The effective identity governance and intelligence solution provides users with proper access from the beginning to the end of the user life cycle. It also ensures that all access is approved and recertified throughout the life cycle until properly deprovisioned. The IGI solution has also the ability to identify potential risky access and risky users by analysing all user access and in this way helps for preventing insider threat attacks.Deploying an identity and access governance system offers a number of benefits. IGI Solution provides a detailed view of roles and privileges within each department of the enterprise. This results in deep insight into how access is used across the company by different users.

The access governance system enables the regulation and control of access in an efficient, systematic, and continuous manner. The access governance system positively impacts the certification process, as well. That means that certification and recertification requirements are reduced and users can be certified as required. Besides, an access governance system facilitates collaborative and analytics-based decision-making, based on the data aggregated across users and departments.

Organizations must be ready to evaluate their own capabilities and gaps against common practices for access and identity management in areas such as access certification, entitlement management, tracking and reporting. They also must be prepared to prioritize closing those gaps accordingly. Identity and access governance is just the right solution to help bridge those gaps and help organizations apply and maintain compliance.

What Does Identity Governance and Intelligence Do to Protect Your Business?

In today’s interconnected marketplace, organizations are challenged more than ever to address regulatory controls and compliance mandates. They also must control access to key resources to protect their data and intellectual properties, being at the same time unique and innovative. For that purpose, it is critical to create effective methodologies, tools, and workflows for managing access and proper identity administration across the enterprise.

And talking about a solution for securing the company sensitive information and network, comes the question concerning all:  How do you manage all of your enterprises’ identities? Do you stay in compliance with regulatory mandates and do you adhere to high standards of privacy and protection?

This is where Identity Governance and Intelligence solutions come in. They are designed to help enterprise IT departments automate their identity workflows, manage manage identities and application access and to stay in compliance with thorough reporting. Besides, Identity governance incorporates measurable access risk controls that helps to set policies and to better drive activities such as access review, privilege management and the management of separation of duties. It provides an integrated, streamlined approach for managing user roles, access policies and risk, ensuring that appropriate levels of access are applied and enforced across enterprise and cloud applications. The solution automates the administration of user access privileges across an organization’s resources, throughout the entire identity management lifecycle.

Use of IGI

Within the enterprise and between enterprises, the users require access to the systems and data necessary to perform their jobs. Most businesses outsource services and work directly with partners and suppliers, that’s why they are faced with the additional problem of giving access to people outside of the organization. No matter where the employee is located and whatever organization they are part of, their access needs to be managed and precisely controlled to lower the risk of fraud and ensure compliance. Governing the way this access is assigned, managed and monitored, is essential activity for the security of the business.

Organizations are obliged to comply with the increasing range of laws and regulations. Proving compliance requires an audit to confirm that the access to this data is properly managed. When there is a lack of good identity governance, these audits can be time consuming and expensive.

The use of mobile phones, tablets and other devices by employees and partners to access company’s systems and data creates a new set of risks. Identity and access governance can help to manage these access related risks. Auditing access rights and controlling the different kinds of duties can be very difficult without the appropriate identity governance tools. These complexities appear when a person performs more than one role.

PATECCO IGI Capabilities

To answer the question – “Who should have access to which resources, when they should have that access, and who decides?”, PATECCO provides IGI tools that deliver user administration, privileged account management, and identity intelligence. Its Identity Governance and Administration Services provide the tools, experience, and capabilities to support these initiatives.

PATECCO Identity Governance and Intelligence capabilities can help you to enable automated workflows and streamline existing processes. They also deploy automated access provisioning, identify and manage roles and segregation of duties to balance information security and business knowledge to avoid complexity and security risks. The IAM Company addresses audit reviews and compliance concerns, and ensures that proper protections and controls are in place to remove as much risk as possible.

Identity governance is important for organizations to ensure the security of their IT systems and data, as well as compliance with laws and regulations. Identity governance enables business compliance in consistent and effective manner that adds value, reduces costs and improves security. It ensures that the users have their access rights assigned, minimizes the opportunities for fraud and data leakage by ensuring that data and applications can only be accessed by authorized admins.